Authentic Hungarian Goulash Recipe – Hearty Beef and Paprika Stew

Authentic Hungarian Goulash Recipe - Hearty Beef and Paprika Stew

Discover the rich flavors of this traditional Hungarian goulash, perfect for warming up on chilly nights. This robust stew combines tender beef, colorful vegetables, and aromatic paprika for a truly satisfying meal.

Goulash comes in various forms, but this version embraces the Hungarian-American style. It features generous chunks of beef, vibrant carrots, and hearty potatoes in a flavorful broth enhanced with onions, garlic, peppers, and a generous dose of high-quality paprika.

Let’s dive into the key techniques that elevate this goulash from good to great:

  • Sear whole steaks: Browning large pieces of beef before cubing ensures maximum flavor and tenderness.
  • Minimal thickeners: We use just a touch of flour, relying on gelatin to add body to the broth without muddying the flavors.
  • Chicken stock base: It provides a cleaner flavor than store-bought beef broth, allowing the true beef taste to shine through.
  • Two-stage vegetables: We start with aromatics for flavor, then add fresh vegetables later for perfect texture.
  • Umami boosters: A splash of soy sauce and fish sauce deepens the savory notes.
  • Oven braising: Even heat distribution promotes flavor development and keeps the meat from drying out.

The star of this goulash is undoubtedly the paprika. Invest in high-quality Hungarian paprika for the most authentic and vibrant flavor. We use a generous half cup, which might seem like a lot, but trust us – it’s the key to this dish’s character.

As the goulash simmers, your kitchen will fill with an irresistible aroma. The result? Tender beef that practically melts in your mouth, perfectly cooked vegetables, and a rich, complex broth that begs to be sopped up with crusty bread.


  • 4 cups (950ml) low-sodium chicken stock
  • 4 packets (1 ounce; 30g) powdered unflavored gelatin
  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) vegetable oil
  • 3 pounds (1.25kg) whole boneless beef chuck roast, cut into 3 steaks
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 medium carrots (10 ounces; 275g), 2 split lengthwise, 2 cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2 small stalks celery (3 ounces; 85g)
  • 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced (10 ounces; 275g)
  • 2 red bell peppers, thinly sliced (8 ounces; 225g)
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup sweet Hungarian paprika (about 2 ounces; 55g)
  • 1 tablespoon (15ml) soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon (15ml) Asian fish sauce
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • 2 tablespoons flour (about 3/4 ounce; 20g)
  • 1 pound (450g) Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons (15 to 30ml) apple cider vinegar
  • Chopped fresh parsley leaves, for serving


  1. Preheat your oven to 300°F (150°C) and position the rack in the lower third. Sprinkle gelatin over chicken stock and set aside to bloom.
  2. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season beef generously with salt and pepper. Sear the steaks until well-browned on two sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
  3. Brown the diced carrots in the pot for about 4 minutes. Season and set aside. Add the split carrot, celery, onion, peppers, and garlic. Cook until softened and lightly browned, about 8 minutes.
  4. Stir in paprika and cook for 30 seconds until fragrant. Pour in the chicken stock mixture, soy sauce, fish sauce, and add bay leaves and thyme.
  5. Cut the seared beef into 1 1/2- to 2-inch chunks and toss with flour. Add to the pot along with any accumulated juices. Bring to a simmer, then transfer to the oven. Cook partially covered for about 1 1/2 hours, until beef starts to become tender.
  6. Remove the pot from the oven. Discard the large vegetable pieces, bay leaves, and thyme. Add potatoes and reserved sautéed carrots. Return to the oven and cook for another 45 minutes to 1 hour, until everything is tender and the broth has thickened.
  7. Skim off any excess fat. If needed, simmer on the stovetop to reduce. Stir in 1 to 2 tablespoons of vinegar to brighten the flavors. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
  8. Serve hot, garnished with fresh parsley. Enjoy your comforting bowl of Hungarian-inspired goodness!

Pro Tips for Perfect Goulash

  • Choose beef chuck for its rich flavor and abundant connective tissue, which breaks down during cooking for supreme tenderness.
  • Don’t rush the browning process – it’s crucial for developing deep flavors.
  • Allow the goulash to rest overnight for even better flavor. It reheats beautifully and can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

A Note on Oven Temperature

We’ve adjusted the oven temperature to 300°F (150°C) to ensure consistent results across different ovens. This slight increase helps achieve the perfect simmer for tender beef and rich flavors.

Nutrition Information

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
740 Calories
41g Fat
34g Carbs
63g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 740
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 41g 52%
Saturated Fat 15g 75%
Cholesterol 188mg 63%
Sodium 1900mg 83%
Total Carbohydrate 34g 12%
Dietary Fiber 7g 25%
Total Sugars 7g
Protein 63g
Vitamin C 77mg 385%
Calcium 116mg 9%
Iron 9mg 50%
Potassium 1680mg 36%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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